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CHRISTY'S BLUEBIRD PROJECT

PROJECT PLANS

The Methods of My Madness:

I believe it is said, but I do not know by who...yet:
 
"A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish"

How I Thought I Would Start A Bluebird Trail  :  And If You Want To Also Start A Bluebird Trail What You Might Want To Do
 
I had never seen a Bluebird but knew that someone decades before in my county, had tried to put up Bluebird boxes.  And since I had not seen a Bluebird surely we needed more! 
 
...Know what a Bluebird looks like.  And everyplace needs more Bluebirds.
 
I found an old video on Bluebirds at my local library.  And even though it was very old and the colors were faded it was that video which showed me I was capable of putting up Bluebird boxes.
 
...Check out your local library for Bluebird materials.  And you can do whatever you want to do.  If your library does not carry Bluebird books, give them the names of a couple of Bluebird books, and ask that they purchase them for the library.  That is usually all it takes to get them.
 
The Internet was my next place to look.  I found nothing happening in Florida, but other states had large Bluebird Trail projects.  One county had 3000 boxes in it.  So surely my county had room to put up some Bluebird boxes.
 
...Surf the Internet for Bluebirds and Bluebird Trails.  Find out what is happening in your area with Bluebirds by asking local Bird clubs and park rangers.
 
The wealth of my new found knowledge comes from the Bluebird-L.  It is an e-mail list where you can receive large numbers of e-mails a day.  And the various Bluebird information comes from people who seem to be like myself, but have years of experience working with Bluebirds.
 
...Do think about joining the Bluebird-L but be prepared to receive large amounts of e-mails.  Do your Bluebird reading before joining.  You will find you will enjoy listening to the experts and you will understand what is being said.
 
Now this was also where I made a mistake.  Maybe not a mistake but just not good thinking.  I like to jump into things and just get going.  I don't like to read instructions.  I could visualize the Bluebird box, pole, and most of the predator guard, and what the land should look like.  I could guess what was the next thing to do to get things started.  But at this point I should have had read the popular Bluebird books.  I had kept hearing that The Bluebird Monitor's Guide was the best book.  But I kept putting off getting it, also our local stores did not have any Bluebird books on their shelves.  I finally did have to order my books from NABS.  Everything  I could think to ask about Bluebirds was addressed in the book.  And what I read in the book was confirmed in the e-mail List over and over. 
 
...Do get started, but do your homework.  Read all the Bluebird books you can get.  There are not that many nor are they expensive books.  Join the Bluebird-L and learn something everyday.  You will meet lots of great, new, knowledgeable, and friendly people.
 
To be successful to attract the Bluebirds, that I did not know were there,  I needed a completely acceptable setup.  The Hardee County Trail box I knew worked.  I was told about the Ron Kingston's Predator Guard.  A PVC pole was a material I could work with.
 
...Use a complete proven setup.  The box should be NABS approved.  Search the Internet for more varieties of boxes.  The pole material should be that which you can set up easily, and then having the box level which you can Monitor with ease.  Some don't use a Predator Guard.  But I heard enough e-mails from the List already which Monitors lost their Bluebirds because they thought wrong.  The guard is an added expense, but will save you pain of losing birds or wondering if you lost birds because you did not have them.
 
Now I needed the best habitat.  Wide open spaces away from all the shrubby bushes where House Sparrows live.   Fence and above ground wires are a plus.  A roadside Bluebird Trail meant I was putting my setups on County property.  Putting a Trail on private but community use land still required me taking the liability.  I found letting the homeowner own their boxes and Monitor them would be the best way to go.
 
...With any type of government land use, you may have to pay for Permits and sign liability agreements.  Large private land developers will also probably have liability agreements.  To start finding land is easiest when working with private homeowners.
 
My Goal is to bring Bluebirds back to my area.  I found I have to change the details of my Goal continuously.  I wanted my own Bluebird Trail to Monitor.  But I can not find land near my home to do so.  I did not want to take on costs and liabilities.  I found I could do more by letting others enjoy learning about Bluebirds, by them Monitoring.  I would have to find other areas which I could be helpful to my Project and promote Bluebirds.  I now have a larger Goal, and it is growing daily.
 
...What is your Goal?  Be flexible with your ideas.  Change comes easier with help from others.  Share your knowledge.   Learn from others mistakes.  Do the best work that you can.  Have fun.
 
 
 
 
 

The Costs And Materials
 
When I started I did not have any useable materials.  So I had to purchase everything.  And six months later I still am having to purchase the materials.  I have tried to find scrap wood and aquire donated wood.  But with the exception of finding a few pieces of wood set out for the trashman I have been unsuccessful.
 
...Start looking and always keep looking for free useable materials.  As you read your Bluebird books you will see where others were able to make thousands of boxes from donated wood.  I would think anything is possible.  And new windows of opportunity will open as your project grows.
 
 

My Bluebird Project Costs
 
SPENT                            $2,522.31
SPONSORED ITEMS          2,507.56
 
UNSPONSORED COSTS   $     14.75
 
(Items Purchased: wood,PVC,paint,metal flashing, nails,screws,drill,saw,maps,pins,books,stovepipe,brackets, stencils,hardware cloth,worms,boxes,bran.)
 
What the above figures and information is telling you, is that when I started my project I had to invest not only time but money, but I found a way to cover the cost of the materials that I needed to use. 
 
I found that if I sold a complete 5 box setup for only cost of the materials, I could keep on building more Trails.  Back in the early days, I also spent about 4 hours at each home showing the Stokes Bluebird video, talking about how to Monitor, and showing other Bluebird books, and walking the new Monitor's land for the best placement of their new boxes.  As the years went on, so did the cost of gas keep going up, and most of my Monitors lived as far as 100 miles round trip, from me.  I did not then figure in the cost of gas, or my time. I did after four years into my Trail building,  I took off two of the predator guards to cover the loss in gas.  
 
**I found that a Bluebird Project could be started, and pay for itself.  It is something anyone can do with a little starting investment.  Don't be afraid to give it a try in your area!